Venison with Blackberry Red Wine Sauce and Spiced Collard Greens

Dinner tonight was venison tenderloin with a blackberry and red wine pan sauce and spiced collard greens. I’ve been in the hospital taking care of G. Mom all week, and for my first night back I thought that cooking a good meal would be a nice way to calm and center myself. I really enjoy venison, and I saw tit being cooked on Masterchef this week, so I made a special trip to pick some up at the Wegmans in Princeton, NJ before heading up north. I don’t make a ton of sauces, because I usually enjoy eating my meat just salted and well-cooked (not well-done!) but today I wanted to push myself a bit, so I also grabbed some blackberries and pinot noir, which I thought would make for a tasty sauce.

Venison is a delightful protein, unless you overcook it, in which case you end up with a chewy lump of disappointment and sadness that looks, feels, and tastes like a softened hockey puck. My secret weapon for venison is the immersion circulator – sous vide venison is absolutely foolproof. I started by sous viding two gorgeous venison tenderloins from Dartagnan for two hours at 117.5F with my Anova Precision Cooker. Once they were cooled I seared them for just seconds on each side in a hot pan. I let them rest, and waited to slice them up until I was ready to plate.

Once the meat was done, I gathered the following ingredients for the sauce:

  • A tablespoon of salted butter
  • The drippings from the bag in which I cooked the venison
  • One shallot, finely diced
  • Two cloves of garlic, minced
  • A sprinkle of rubbed sage
  • A generous pour of Pinot noir
  • A small handful of fresh blackberries
  • Pomegranate balsamic vinegar (I have one from Carter and Cavero that is delicious)
  • A tablespoon or so of beef bullion
  • About two teaspoons of apricot and passion fruit jam

I added the butter and drippings from the sous vide bag to the skillet I seared the tenderloins in, and then sweated the shallot and garlic with some salt and the powdered sage. When they were tender I poured in a good amount of wine, and crushed a few blackberries by hand and dropped them, like I do with canned tomatoes when I’m making a red sauce. I added some rich, sweet and tangy pomegranate balsamic vinegar, a splash of water, and the beef bullion. It needed a little more sweetness, so I spooned in the jam. When the sauce tasted right, I strained it and put it into a small sauce pan over low heat to thicken up a bit.

For the collard greens side dish, I used the pressure cook setting on my Instant Pot to give it that stewed all day texture. I used: 

  • About two tablespoons of butter
  • About a teaspoon of crushed methi seeds (fenugreek)
  • A few shakes of a Berbere spice blend (an Ethiopian spice mix with cinnamon, pepper, ginger, cardamom, paprika, and other seasonings)
  • One yellow onion, diced
  • Two cloves of garlic, minced
  • A splash of cooking sake
  • The juice from one lemon
  • A big bag of fresh chopped collard greens
  • Salt
  • A splash of water

I started by warming the methi seeds and Berbere mix in butter on the sauté setting, then added a diced onion and some garlic. I deglazed with some sake, then added a big bag of chopped collard greens, the juice from one lemon and a little water and mushroom bullion, and cooked under pressure for five minutes.

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I plated the collards, then the sliced venison. I added a sprinkling of goat cheese to the plate, as I always do with this protein – I just love having a taste of the creamy, tangy goat cheese with venison. I finished with the sauce, and rushed through taking pictures so I could stuff my face! The venison was perfectly rare, and doing it sous vide gives you a delightfully soft texture. The sauce was sweet but rich and meaty too, and it had some some acidity from the vinegar, and adding a bit of creamy goat cheese really rounded out the meat. The collards were a lovely stewed texture, and just mildly spiced with some earthy flavors that made them a lovely side dish that still let the star (the venison and sauce) really shine.

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3 thoughts on “Venison with Blackberry Red Wine Sauce and Spiced Collard Greens

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